Gen Kyanda defends military deployment during elections in Bunyoro

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Maj Gen Eric Leopold Kyanda talks about UPDF deployment to Bunyoro ahead of tomorrow's elections.

The Chief of Land Forces in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, has explained why the national army cannot be taken far away as the democratic elections take place in the country.

While in an Interview with Kazi-njema News some minutes after speaking to the public through Spice FM air waves in Hoima city this afternoon, Gen Kyanda said all forces are working together to ensure peaceful political campaigns and elections.

The senior army officer has spoken about election security as fear for possible violence grips residents of Hoima city with some either vacating or planning to vacate urban centres.

He assured that security was at its best but in the best interest of all Ugandans against those with bad intentions against the country.

Asked whether the military and police deployment signals the forces are afraid of the security situation, Gen Kyanda challenged that Uganda’s military capability is strong enough to defend the nation and they are scared of neither internal threats nor foreign aggression.

He added that it was simply in response to the November 18, 2020 clashes in Kampala where people he described as thugs attacked armed men provoking assaults. Gen Kyanda said cases of robbery and rape reported to have been perpetrated by people disguising as protesters needed proactive military action to avoid their recurrence.

Audio: Kyanda on security (English)

Gen Kyanda urged Ugandans to be calm and freely move out tomorrow morning without fear and vote the leaders of their choice.

The senior army officer cautioned the youths against being deceived by anybody to participate in any form of subversive activities like illegal protests and assaulting supporters of the opponent candidate.

Asked whether Ugandans should be scared of any foreign aggression he said Uganda is a legitimate government and no country can raise arms against it and survive the response of the international community.

Audio: Kyanda on foreign aggression (English)
From left: Capt Stephen Tumwesigye, Maj Gen Eric Leopold Kyanda and Lt Col Akasius Mpabaisi in the studios of Spice FM in Hoima City on Wednesday 13, January 2021.

During a talk show on election security hosted by Peter Abanabasazi on Spice FM alongside Gen Kyanda, Capt Stephen Tumwesigye, the Public Relations Officer Artillery Division Masindi who is also in charge of the entire Bunyoro sub-region explained further on the roles of the army in elections beyond security assurance.

“First of all, we are citizens of Uganda like any other citizens before being members of the security forces. Then, we are in charge of security from one border to the other,” he said.

Capt Tumwesigye added that they also vote but in shifts each taking an independent choice from the candidates as they remain on guard for national security.

On their relationship with the police and other forces, Capt Tumwesigye said the military is just on standby to intervene in case the police gets overwhelmed adding that the military response is only on official invitation by the police.

“If you suspect any person intending to cause violence and disrupt security, please call the nearest security officials for immediate intervention. We need to work together for the continuity of peace in our country,” said Capt Tumwesigye.

During a stakeholder meeting on voter education at Kolping Hotel organised by Community Driven Network (CODNET) Uganda in Hoima city yesterday, tribalism, political colour bias were among the potential causes of violence during elections.

Bunyoro region being the area with huge oil reserves discovered so far, security needs to remain heightened to avoid any form of violence that can disrupt the major oil investments done, thus far.

Bunyoro has porous borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and has seen uncontrolled migration in the past two decades that is responsible for the apparent tribal tensions.

Immigrants mainly from Greater Kigezi of southwestern Uganda, the neighbouring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have their huge population in Kikuube and all districts in Greater Kibaale.

Security and religious leaders have been calling for coexistence and choose people with qualities of leadership other than looking at their ethnic background.

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